By Clint Schroeder
In my 30-plus years of being involved in stewardship programming across the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean, I have heard a lot of comments about pledging. Many were negative.
Let me proclaim the positives of pledging:
Pledging is spiritual
Pledging is discipline
Pledging is practical
Giving the first fruits
Whether we call it a pledge, a commitment, an intent, or something else, it all comes down to the same thing: a statement that a proportionate share of our monetary resources is to be given for the proclamation of the Gospel. It says that our Christian giving is not only on a par with everything else in our household budget, but indeed is at the top of the list! We want to give the first fruits for the Lord’s work!
Pledging is spiritual because a decision is reached only after prayerful consideration. Our giving is more a spiritual decision than a financial one.
Pledging is faith in action. If we view pledging only as a financial decision we miss the point. In the offertory prayer we say, “we offer with joy and thanksgiving what you have first given us ….” If we truly mean that, there should be no difficulty in pledging to return a portion of that which has first been given to us.
Good discipline is essential
Pledging is discipline. Good discipline is essential to good management, or stewardship, of our resources. We know how much the mortgage payment is, or the payment on the car loan. We know how much we spend on life insurance, car maintenance, groceries . . . the list goes on. Why shouldn’t we know what we are going to give to our church? Our pledge says something about where our priorities are.
Writing the first check each week or each month for our offering is good discipline, and helps us to be better stewards.
Pledging essential for planning
Pledging is practical. Pledging is good money management. It’s also practical for our congregation. It lets the finance committee and congregation council know the amount of resources which will be available for ministry. Pledging by members enables the congregation to do sound planning. Pledging enables the congregation to make a meaningful pledge to synod and churchwide ministry support.
Pledging: It’s spiritual; it’s discipline; it’s practical! It’s good stewardship.
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For nearly a century, Lutheran Laity Movement for Stewardship assisted, inspired and trained congregations in important ways. LLM ceased operations on May 31, 2003, but the Stewardship of Life Institute is proud to continue its work by making its web resources available to a new generation of stewards.
Clint Schroeder wrote this for Faith in Action, the publication of the Lutheran Lay Movement for Stewardship, of which he was editor.
© Copyright , Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
This essay first appeared in Faith in Action. Articles in Faith in Action may be reproduced for use in ELCA and ELCIC congregations provided each copy carries the note:
© Copyright Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Reprinted with permission.